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Changing your diet permanently after a Breakup

Food shopping, preparing meals and eating together is a regular routine for most couples.  It may be that now you only need to think about feeding yourself Kiwi fruit - Image courtesy of James Barker/FreeDigitalPhotos.netafter your break up.

In addition circumstances may have changed which means you have a smaller food budget, smaller kitchen and less motivation to just cook for yourself.  Suddenly finding yourself in this situation can be daunting and probably something you didn’t consider when you first split from your partner.

Taking a practical approach to the situation may help you address some of the issues of eating for one:

  • Make your own ready meals by cooking meals you enjoy and freezing portions.  All you need to do is defrost and warm-through for a well prepared meal with limited effort.
  • Get your head around single portions.  You may want to initially weigh ingredients out to ensure you don’t over-prepare to then either waste them, or over-eat what you don’t really need.
  • Invest in some cookbooks specifically aimed at eating for one to give you some ideas and inspiration.  Here is a selection:
    • Cooking for One (Quick & Easy Series) by Molly Perham
    • Serves One by Toni Lydecker
    • Going Solo in the Kitchen by Jane Doerfer
  • Plan your shopping around a set budget.  Work out what you can afford and aim to buy some core ingredients that several meals can be based around.  This takes some practice but you will soon get into the habit and you will learn what foods work well for you to reduce waste.
  • Change for the better.  Often in relationships you may both eat poorly, after a break up it can be a good time to start eating healthier for yourself as you are now making all the meal and cooking decisions.


A Balanced Diet

You may have found that your relationship with food has changed now after your break up.  Whatever the consequence of this, identifying with yourself your food-related issues is a vital step on the road to recovery.  A car doesn’t perform without the right fuel in it.  In the same way your body and mind will not function correctly when your food intake is distorted.  A well balanced diet is recommended for everyone, it provides our bodies with all the nutrients we need and reduces the risk of developing long term health problems.

The principles of a balanced diet are:

  • Eat regular meals that are based on starchy foods e.g. bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, cereals.  This will aid the regular intake of energy to the body.
  • Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables throughout the day.  Guidelines recommend five portions per day of a variety of fruit or veg.
  • Aim for at least 2 portions of fish a week, including one which is oily e.g. mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines, fresh tuna.
  • Cut down on saturated fats e.g. fat on meat, butter and lard, pastry, hard cheese, cream, cakes and biscuits; and sugar e.g. sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, hydrolysed starch and invert sugar, corn syrup and honey.
  • Reduce the amount of salt you eat, to no more than 6g per day.  Remember lots of foods have salt added to them so check the labels.
  • Drink plenty of fluid.  The recommendations are 6-8 glasses everyday.


The Future

If you are thinking about making changes to your current diet firstly write down the pros and cons of making or not making changes.  This will help you consolidate your thoughts and determine your priorities with regard to your diet.  If for example, you want to lose weight but you feel this just isn’t the right time for you don’t see it as a failure.  You can always revisit this idea in a few months time when you are emotionally ready for the challenge.

There are loads of websites that offer nutritional advice but be aware that not all of them are reputable.  Some which you may find helpful are:

  • The British Dietetic Association:
  • The Food Standards Agency:
  • MIND:
  • The NHS:


The information provided on this website is intended for information only and does not replace personal dietary advice provided by a dietitian.  Ask your GP about a referral to a dietitian if you would like more information or guidance to make dietary changes.

Rhiannon Britton, Registered UK Dietitian


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  1. Cherry63 says:

    I am doing the same thing as you, eating when I get the blues. I eat because my heart has not healed and until it truly is I am aware I will find it difficult to lose the weight I have gained. I overate because I do not have a wide circle of people to confide in and I ate because it actually made me feel less hurt. Three years down the line I realise I do not overeat as much tho I am trying to lose the weight I do have relapses but I try not to beat myself up too much about it. Some of us will overeat and that is who we are and how we react. I try not to take too much notice of this section of this website.

  2. Know and do all that stuff on healthy food, freezing ready meals etc. My problem is that after a really healthy day I get an attack of the blues (my husband of 25 yrs recently left me for another woman) Then I can eat chocolate until I’m sick (well almost sick) How do I deal with comfort eating ????

    Many thanks Storme Smith

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